NY fringe theater hit ‘Out to Lunch’ to be staged by UT Department of Theatre and Film

November 14, 2013 | Arts, Events, UToday, — Communication and the Arts
By Angela Riddel

The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film will present Joseph Langham’s “Out to Lunch” Friday through Sunday, Nov. 15-17, and Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 21-24, in the Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre.

Out to Lunch image by Daniel ThobiasDr. Edmund Lingan, associate professor and interim chair of the UT Department of Theatre and Film, will direct the production.

When it opened in New York in 2002, Martin Denton reviewed the play for NYtheatre.com: “… absolutely deserves to be seen. It’s a fancy, wildly subversive, brazenly political, dada feast; think ‘Laugh In’ … I don’t know — Jerry Springer? ‘Out to Lunch’ is smart and shameless and sassy and inventive and raw and anarchic and disorganized.”

Lingan, who performed one of the lead roles in the extended New York run of “Out to Lunch,” has reasons to return to this play as a director at the University.

According to Lingan, “Out to Lunch” was first produced as part of the New York International Fringe Festival Aug. 9, 2002.

On the surface, this play is a ludicrous, madcap romp of a farce that tells the story of two “camper” customers in a restaurant who just refuse to leave and the hopeless efforts of the restaurant staff to drive them away, he said.

The play is loaded with physical comedy, comic song and crazy dance. It is set in a vividly colored, cartoonish world, in which some people have plastic hair, the restaurant manager longs to dance the ballet, and the waitress threatens to kill her annoying customers with a butter knife.

But there is more to this play than its farcical surface. It opened in New York City less than one year after Sept. 11, 2001.

“For all its comic elements, the play takes a concerned look at the madness and violence that seemed to impose itself on the U.S. around that time,” Lingan said. “With a brief moment of comic nudity and a ludicrous depiction of violence, ‘Out to Lunch’ ponders the obsession with Internet porn, the distance between human beings that sometimes results from and feeds into cyber-communication, and the harsh motivations behind mass murder.

“It’s a screwball comedy written from the standpoint of a playwright who was freshly jaded by unprecedented violence. Nevertheless, ‘Out to Lunch’ does not fail to delight, invoke snickers and induce belly laughs. That paradox is what made me want to direct it. And that paradox is what will please and entertain Toledo audiences.”

Tickets are $12 for general admission; $10 for faculty, staff, alumni and seniors; and $5 for students. They can be purchased online at utoledo.edu/boxoffice, by calling 419.530.2375, or by visiting the Center for Performing Arts Box Office.

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